The best advice I can give to any new authors out there is probably going to surprise everyone:

Completely disregard what your potential audience may want.

Yup, you read that right. I’m giving you permission to be completely selfish with your writing, because it’s just that; YOUR WRITING! The characters you create are yours, the world you set them in are yours, you are God in that world and no one can tell you what to do with it… (Unless they bought the rights and are publishing it for you… then you may have to change a few things, but for the most part, it’s still yours.)

When you write, don’t write for what you think people would like or base what you do with a character on whether or not it’s PC or what is considered ‘right.’ There are no rights and wrongs in writing. You are free to do what you want. This advice came to me when I was watching some of the interviews and documentaries following Lord of the Rings. I don’t remember the man’s name, there was an interview with a man who worked with J.R.R. Tolkien on Lord of the Rings. He mentioned how Tolkien was often dismayed over not really being able to find any stories he liked reading. Finally he decided that if he wanted a good book out there to read, he’d have to write it himself.

I took that comment to heart when I set to write my very first full length novel. A lot of my short stories were well received, but too many of them fell flat. Upon looking back at them, I realized that I had spent too much time trying to anticipate what people would like. I was being a fool. So I turned around and started writing things that I like, things that I would want to see happen in a story and characters that I could attach myself to.

Before I knew it, I had my novel written. I gave it to my toughest critic (my wife) and she loved it. (My wife doesn’t sugar coat things, she tells you if she doesn’t like what you’ve done. I’ve had a few stories axed due to her review). Within a few months it was polished, I had a cover ready, and my work was being submitted… a few weeks later I scratched one of my life-long goals off of my list:

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